Consistency in the way you accomplish work can save your business time and money, and give you a better chance for success. Customers want a predictable experience when they do business with a company, not some haphazard situation that leaves them wondering if they made the right choice.
When starting out, most businesses do things by the seat of their pants. After all, resources are normally scarce and the idea is to just get it done, not wade through some standard process created by someone else. But as your business grows, you’ll be limited in what you can accomplish if there is no consistency.
Doing something a different way every single time causes inefficiencies. And that costs your business money. If it takes twenty minutes to do something that could only take five with some standard steps, that’s fifteen minutes worth of money you’ll never get back.
Plus your customers will feel the effects of that too. How long would they tolerate having a different experience for an “almost-the-same” outcome before they stopped doing business with you? Not long, I’m sure. There are way too many choices these days for a customer to hang around with a business that might someday figure things out.
There are three important steps a business must take to maximize the opportunities for consistency.
- Define Standard Methods and Procedures
- Develop Tools and Templates
- Communicate and Provide Training to Staff
Taking the time to set up these steps in your business will take some effort on the front end, but pay off big time in the long run.
1) Define Standard Methods and Procedures
One of the best ways to get started with defining your methods and procedures is to brainstorm the key processes in your business. For example, that could be taking an order, delivering products to the customer, or making payments.
Once you have a list of the key processes, it’s a good idea to gather any documentation team members already have that could be modified into a standard. This will save you time. Most people do things predictably so you should be able to gather up what already exists to use as your starting point. If there’s no documentation available, take the time to walk through the process to determine what needs to be documented into a standard.
And, don’t forget, you need to develop a standard template and format for your documented methods and procedures before you begin.
2) Develop Tools and Templates
Next you’ll develop easy to re-use tools and templates once you have your standard methods and procedures defined. Take a look at the areas where a checklist might be helpful or a fill-in-the-blanks template that could be completed each time something happens. Encourage your team to create these helpful business tools and share them.
3) Communicate and Provide Training to Staff
None of the work that’s been completed in step one and two will do your business any good if it’s not shared with your team. Make sure to communicate both the “why” and “how” for creating standards and providing templates to use in day-to-day activities. Remember to be open to continuous improvement opportunities and communicate that to your team too.
A Win For Your Business
Two of the key by products of using these steps to ensure consistency in your business are:
1) the ability to measure your outcomes and make adjustments where needed, and
2) specific criteria that helps you hold your team accountable. Both good things in my book!
What about you? Is there something missing here that you’ve used to create consistency in your business? Perhaps that’s why you’ve begun using QuickBase? Let me know in the comments.
//Posted in Team & Project Management | Tagged consistency, continuous improvement, procedures, standard methods, standards